What Are the Differences Between Invisalign & Braces?

Closeup of a woman wearing red lipstick putting in her removable Invisalign clear aligners to straighten her teeth

If you are interested in straightening your teeth, you may be wondering which is better for your unique situation: braces or Invisalign® clear aligner therapy. Here, we’ll explain some of the differences between braces and Invisalign.

What Are Braces?

Traditional braces can fix a wide range of teeth alignment issues from mild to severe. This powerful and versatile treatment can usually treat the most complicated cases of underbites, overbites, crossbites, crowding, buck teeth, open bites, and more.

How It Works

With braces, a combination of thin archwires, small square ceramic or metal brackets, and elastics move the teeth into proper alignment. The brackets are adhered to the teeth and the wires connect the brackets. These wires apply pressure to the brackets, gradually moving the teeth into the desired alignment.

Treatment Time

On average, treatment is 12-36 months. However, some patients may require a longer treatment time, multiple phases, or be good candidates for accelerated braces which only move the teeth that show when smiling.

Lifestyle Changes

To ensure progression, every several weeks the wires need to be tightened and adjusted, which can cause some temporary soreness. And throughout the treatment, the brackets and wires can irritate the mouth if dental wax is not regularly applied. Certain dietary and oral hygiene changes are also necessary, including avoiding gum, sticky and chewy foods, hard candy, and popcorn, and spending more time cleaning the teeth. Many patients find that using an electric toothbrush, floss threaders, and a water flosser make cleaning their teeth easier.

What Is Invisalign?

The Invisalign process involves a series of clear plastic aligners that fit snugly and comfortably over the teeth. The aligners are great at fixing mild to moderate misalignment.

How It Works

Each Invisalign aligner is custom-crafted for the patient’s particular needs. The trays apply exactly the right amount of pressure to specific areas of the teeth that need straightening, and are switched out every couple of weeks. This ensures the teeth are constantly being pushed into a straighter position. Depending on the complexity of misalignment, some patients require attachments that look like tooth-colored dots on the front of their teeth to help the aligners better apply the forces necessary for repositioning.

Treatment Time

Treatment time is typically 12-18 months but the timeline varies for every patient.

Lifestyle Changes

Invisalign trays must be worn 20-22 hours a day for optimal results but are removed when eating, drinking, and cleaning the teeth. Many patients enjoy the freedom of Invisalign since their oral hygiene routine is minimally altered. Brushing and flossing of the teeth are unaffected, though regular rinsing of both the mouth and aligners are necessary after eating. Additionally, the trays require daily cleaning and regular soaking to avoid warping, discoloration, and the buildup of bacteria.

Questions About Invisalign?

Village Dental proudly offers Invisalign clear aligner therapy to our patients. If you’re interested in straightening your teeth, contact us today to set up your orthodontic consultation at our dental office in Ridgefield Park, NJ!

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